This is my Starving Artist Phase

The image of a starving artist may be trite but it is really true. I must make ends meet as a student in transit between my education and eventual career. I hope this phase doesn’t last long, but in the interim I am finding ways to make money while in school. I am very frugal and never splurge on anything but supplies. Forget after-school drinks, movies, time at the arcade, or trips away.  I can only spend no holds barred on paint, paper, and the like. I save on prepared canvases for acrylic or oil paintings by stretching them myself. They cost way less. You buy the put together frame in any size and uncoated linen that comes by the yard in various widths. With my handy dandy staple gun, I can stretch the cloth across the frame (making it taut with a metal clamp) and attach it in strategic places. Then the gesso goes on and I am ready to roll, at a reduced price.

Buying used books is the most well-known student trick to save money. Who cares if your texts are pristine and unscathed? I don’t even mind all the little notes in the margins from previous readers. They point me to what is important. Of course, when I am done with a course I will sell the book back. Clever and smart, right? Books are a huge expenditure that destroys any budget.

I also avoid eating out too often and buy sandwiches at school or the nearby convenience store. Fast-food is notoriously cheap so the way to save is order only what you need. My latest economy tactic is to ditch the car and ride a commuter bike, after I found the best one at I can get to class in time, store books in the attached compartment, and avoid the cost of gas. Now I pedal away in the bike lane and park with all the other students in the same boat. Sure, we all prefer cars or vans, but it is not practical yet. Someday, I will make up for it. My old car was on the rocks anyway so I am happy to see it go. Repairs can quickly eat up anyone’s savings in no time. When student cars are more than used, the time in the shop rises. When you know it is on its last legs, get that bike.

If you have other ideas to economize, I am all ears.  Students are known to get creative when it comes to hoarding their pennies. I have a part-time job, but one of my best moves is to sell my art. There are impromptu student expos in the adjacent park. The locals come ambling over to get a bargain. Their bargain is our income. We don’t need that much! I have learned what sells. I love to do cartoons and the kids love them to decorate their rooms. Other university students also indulge for the same reason.